Islamabad, The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has decided to fight the conviction of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani with caution and calculated aggression in a contempt of court case, but will avoid any confrontation with the judiciary.
Hours after the Supreme Court convicted Gilani for flouting its orders, top leaders from the ruling party met to look into the repercussions of the decision for both the government and Gilani.
President Asif Ali Zardari expressed the final outcome in clearest of terms, saying, “He (Gilani) stood for me and the party. Now it is time for all of us to stand for him and I will,” a participant quoted the President as telling his PPP colleagues. Zardari also managed to win support for Gilani from all of PPP’s allied groups – the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Awami National Party (ANP) and parliamentarians from the tribal areas – at a separate meeting earlier in the day, The Express Tribune reported.
Jointly presided over by both Zardari and Gilani, the PPP meeting criticised the court verdict, calling it a disappointing attempt to topple the democratically elected government. Zardari’s spokesperson said the meeting had declared that an elected prime minister could only be removed in accordance with the procedure laid down in the constitution.
“The meeting expressed dismay that an elected prime minister of the country had been sentenced for upholding the Constitution and supremacy of Parliament,” said Senator Farhatullah Babar. According to a participant, PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain advised the government to avoid confrontation with the Supreme Court and try to seek a fresh vote of confidence for Gilani.